Backyard Bird-Feeding Resources
Birds at Your Feeder
by Erica H. Dunn and Diane L. Tessaglia-Hymes
In North America, between 30 and 40 million people purchase bird food each year. For anyone who feeds birds, this book will be an indispensable companion.
Based on years of study and surveys, Birds at Your Feeder outlines what species frequent feeders in different parts of North America, how often these species visit feeders, and what they prefer to eat. The book includes fascinating descriptions of each species, illustrations, and maps showing distribution and frequency of feeder visits. Readers learn, for instance, that a Red-winged Blackbird may not try a novel food until it sees another try it first, that over 150 Pygmy Nuthatches have been reported roosting together in a single tree cavity, that redpolls can spend adjacent winters in sites over 1,200 miles apart, and that crows post sentinels in feeding flocks to watch for danger. Unlike ordinary bird guides, this book focuses exclusively on birds that are likely to appear at your feeder.
Erica H. Dunn, a research scientist for the Canadian Wildlife Service, is one of North America’s leading experts on birds at feeders. She founded Project FeederWatch and has written widely on the subject of bird feeding. Diane L. Tessaglia-Hymes is a graphic designer for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and once served as the research coordinator for FeederWatch. A portion of the book’s sales go to support the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
The FeederWatcher’s Guide to Bird Feeding
by Margaret Barker and Jack Griggs
Take a fascinating tour of FeederWatcher’s backyards and bird feeders. Using stories and photos gathered from FeederWatcher participants, Margaret and Jack share fascinating stories about feeding birds and informational tips for attracting birds to feeders while discouraging uninvited guests, like squirrels or starlings.
Bird feeding and landscaping guides
Many resources exist to help the backyard bird-feeding enthusiast develop a successful feeder garden. Here are a few to choose from…
Burton, Richard and Stephen Kress. Audubon North American Bird Feeder Guide. Dorling Kindersley. 2005.
Dennis, John V. A Complete Guide to Bird Feeding. Knopf. 1994.
Kress, Stephen W. National Audubon Society’s Bird Garden: A Comprehensive Guide to Attracting Birds to your Backyard Throughout the Year. Dorling Kindersley. 1995.
Mahnken, Jan. The Backyard Bird-Lover’s Guide. Storey Books. 1996.
Stokes, Donald and Lillian. Bird Gardening Book: The Complete Guide to Creating a Bird-Friendly Habitat in Your Backyard. Little, Brown and Company. 1998.
The Cornell Lab’s All About Birds website offers a free online guide. The Cornell Lab also has a bird identification app called Merlin that you can use in the field or at home to help you identify birds.
An important tool for any FeederWatcher is a print field guide. A good field guide will include:
- detailed drawings or photos illustrating the variation in plumage of the male and female of each species, as well as the subtle differences in appearance due to age, season, and geographic region
- highlights the differences between hard to distinguish, similar-looking species
- maps of the species’ breeding, winter, and year-round ranges
The choice of which field guide is best for you is really a subjective decision. There are a number of wonderful guides on the market, each with it’s own advantages and disadvantages. You might want to visit a library and look through a few guides before you decide which one to purchase. Here are a few print guides to consider…
Kaufman, Kenn. Birds of North America. New York: Houghton Mifflin. 2000.
Peterson, Roger Tory. A Field Guide to the Birds: A Completely New Guide to All the Birds of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin. 1998.
Peterson, Roger Tory. A Field Guide to Western Birds. Houghton Mifflin. 1989.
Sibley, David Allen. The Sibley Guide to Birds. Alfred A. Knopf. 2000.
Stokes, Don and Lillian. Beginner’s Guide to Birds. Little, Brown and Company. 1996.